St. Paul Saints set to become Twins’ Triple-A affiliate

The Saint Paul Saints are set to become the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, giving the Twins a nearby home for their upper-level minor leaguers. An industry source confirmed an announcement is likely to come later this week.
The Twins severed ties with longtime Triple-A partner the Rochester Red Wings earlier this month after nearly two decades in upstate New York.
The new partnership — as well as the Twins’ affiliation with Double-A Wichita, which was first reported by the Wichita Eagle — is part of a greater reorganization of the minor leagues. The Twins are expected to keep their affiliations with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.
The Saints, who play at CHS Field in Lowertown, were previously an independent team in the American Association.
The new affiliation gives the Twins increased flexibility in making roster decisions because there will be less travel involved. It will allow rehabbing players to stay close to home and will give Twins fans a chance to easily see the stars of tomorrow in person.
Major League Baseball has expressed a desire to match affiliates closer to home, and the Twins and Saints appear to be the closest MLB to Triple-A partnership across the league. Seattle and Atlanta are also within an hour of their top affiliate.
The Saints’ ownership group also runs a minor league team in Charleston, S.C., and one in Hudson Valley (New York). In an interview with the Pioneer Press in July, Saints co-owner Mike Veeck was asked if he was opposed to being an affiliate. “Not with the right club, I’m not,” he said.
The Twins and Saints partnered this summer with the Twins using CHS Field as their alternate training site during the COVID-shortened season. Throughout the summer, the Twins had consistently good things to say about the arrangement.
“It’s a really good setup for us for a lot of different reasons,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of CHS Field and St. Paul in July. “… The Saints over there, the organization, the ballpark itself, it’s a very professional operation. They have taken care of us, they have been very open-minded to things we have asked them for.”
The Twins’ Double-A affiliate is moving from Pensacola, Fla., to Wichita, where they will be the beneficiaries of the brand-new Riverfront Stadium. The stadium was built to house a Triple-A team beginning in 2020, but that never happened as the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season.
Beginning next season, the Midwest League (Cedar Rapids Kernels) is expected to become High-A and the Florida State League (Mighty Mussels) to become Low-A.
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